The extensive rollout of fibre broadband across Devon and Somerset is continuing to make good progress.
Broadband provider Airband is working in a number of areas of Somerset to deliver part of the fibre network being built on behalf of Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS).
Cabinets have been installed and powered up to the north of Taunton and work is on track to provide live connections by April in Adsborough, Bathpool, Monkton Heathfield, Priorswood, Staplegrove, Upper Cheddon, and West Monkton.
Work is being carried out to ensure the existing ducting from Norton Fitzwarren to Bishops Lydeard and beyond to Ash Priors, Fitzhead and Tolland is clear of obstructions in readiness for the deployment of fibre.
After this, they will be progressing further north and west to Bicknoller, Combe Florey, Crowcombe, Elworthy, Lydeard St Lawrence, Sampford Brett, Spaxton, Stogumber, West Bagborough and West Quantoxhead.
Plans are currently being finalised for the rollout of fibre to the centre of Taunton and the areas south as far as West Buckland.
Designs are also being drawn up for the villages to the east of Taunton, including Hatch Beauchamp, Henlade, Pitminster, Staple Fitzpaine and Stoke St Mary. Survey teams will shortly be heading out to these areas to assess what existing infrastructure can be used.
Councillor David Hall, CDS Board Member and Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “It’s encouraging to see Airband making such good progress in so many communities across Somerset and Devon. This latest rollout is making real in-roads to some of the most hard-to-reach areas of the region in order to provide Gigabit capable broadband to more of our local communities.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “Continued investment in modern, digital infrastructure is a vital aspect of the inclusive growth and levelling up agendas in the Heart of the South West. So it is great to see the rollout of fibre broadband across Devon and Somerset, which is supported with funding from the HotSW LEP’s Growth Deal. The progress made to date has seen residents and businesses in some of our most rural communities benefit from much needed improvements to their internet connectivity.”
Redmond Peel, Director of Airband, said: “At Airband, we passionately believe that rural communities should have access to the same level of high-quality connectivity, and therefore opportunities, as those in urban areas. This is a huge step towards closing the digital divide and delivering industry leading connectivity to those who need it most.”
CDS has delivered superfast access to more homes and businesses than any other broadband programme in England, with over 315,000 premises receiving access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by CDS.
A list of the community areas covered by Airband’s contracts with CDS, along with anticipated completion dates and a map of the coverage areas is available on Airband’s website. The website also has an improved postcode checker to check for communities covered by CDS contracts.